It was a good year for a Peanut Festival. Sunny. Blue skies. A little chilly.
My wife and I walked rows of arts and crafts. We ate the kinds of food that give cardiologists panic attacks.
We listened to music that makes grown men thirsty for Budweiser products. We spent our money on junk we’ll never use. We rode rides we were too old for.
And I saw a girl.
Eight or nine years old, maybe. She was wandering. She had no adult with her. Her face looked worried.
I approached the girl and asked if she needed help.
She did not answer. She only took a step backward and started to run.
My wife squatted low and asked, “Honey, are you lost?”
She said, “I can't find my mom.”
No sooner had the girl gotten words out than her face busted open. She soaked my wife’s shoulder.
It was enough to break a stainless steel heart.
My wife asked if the girl was hungry. She yes-ma'amed.
So, I offered the girl my bag of deep-fried peanuts.
The little girl made a face
and said she didn't care for peanuts. I informed her she was at the wrong festival. Then, I bought her a nine-dollar deep-fried Snickers bar.
My wife took the girl to get her face painted while I went to find an official-looking person for help.
I found a man in uniform and brought him to the girl.
The uniform asked the girl where she’d last seen her mother.
Then, we walked in circles, trying to find the places she remembered.
She held hands with my wife.
I had heard the girl say: “Can you hold my hand? I don't wanna get lost again.”
We saw many things on our jaunt across the fairgrounds. Things you'd see at Anytown Festival USA. We saw young couples carrying oversized Panda bears. We saw families pushing strollers. Men in…